We are pleased to announce Cornell University Kimball Hall Renovation has earned LEED® Gold Certification as established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) verified the certification. LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
Following our completion of the Cornell College of Engineering Master Plan, the Kimball Hall renovation was launched as one of the first steps. The renovation was the prototype project to demonstrate the potential that their existing buildings have to meet the next generation of interdisciplinary research needs of the College.
We approached the design of the research space with great attention to sustainability along with flexibility and the fit-to-function of the design to the wide ranging needs of a diverse user group. Although small in footprint, the renovation design of Kimball Hall weaves together a series of layers (low energy office workspace, high intensity support zone and a highly flexible open research laboratory) to create an integrated and cohesive research neighborhood. The simple elegance of the loft-like design execution is accented by bold accent colors and materials within a bright daylit series of spaces.
The project achieved a 68% reduction in energy usage as compared to a typical biology or engineering lab in this climate. This equals an EUI of 144 kBtu/SF which is equivalent to the annual energy that 860 homes in the northeast would consume. To attain this level of reduction, the design features a number of key sustainability components.
The overall energy usage of the project is challenged at each level. Within the laboratory area, the ventilation rate is reduced to code mandated minimums (6 ACH) during occupied periods. We achieved further reductions during non-occupied periods. To achieve the required cooling loads of the support zones, each space is tuned to its particular usage and additional cooling units were added only where required.
The project was originally initiated as an interior renovation project, but ultimately was elected to improve the exterior envelope to further reduce energy demands. All the existing steel framed, single paned windows in Kimball Hall were replaced with full height, low-e insulting glazed curtainwalls with integral sunshades that run from the first floor to the third floor. The new curtainwalls, open ceilings and high level of transparency bring daylight deep into the floor plate.
The new mechanical infrastructure is located on the roof above level three and has the capability to connect into the future renovation of level one. A Solar Wall is integrated into the south face of the rooftop screenwall. The Solar Wall is a renewable energy source that takes advantage of the southern orientation of the screen wall and pre-tempers the air before entering the air handler during the cold winter months of central New York.